corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Hosea 9

 

 

Verse 1

Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.

Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy ... for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God - literally, to exultation. Thy exultation at the league made by the Israelite king, Menahem with Pul, by which peace seems secured, is out of place, since thy idolatry will bring ruin on thee.

As other people - the Assyrians, for instance, who, unlike thee, are in the height of prosperity. As other people - the Assyrians, for instance, who, unlike thee, are in the height of prosperity.

Thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor - thou hast desired, in reward for thy homage to idols, abundance of grain on every threshingfloor (Hosea 2:12).


Verse 2

The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.

The floor and the winepress shall not feed them (Hosea 2:9; Hosea 2:12), and the new wine shall fail - disappoint her expectation.


Verse 3

They shall not dwell in the LORD's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.

They shall not dwell in the Lord's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt - (note, Hosea 8:13). As in Hosea 11:5, it is said, "He shall not return into ... Egypt," Fairbairn thinks it is not the exact country that is meant, but the bondage-state with which, from past experience, Egypt was identified in their minds. Assyria was to be a second Egypt to them (Deuteronomy 28:68), though threatening a return to Egypt (Hos. 9:36 ), declares that the Lord shall bring them and their king to a nation which neither they nor their fathers had known, showing that it is not the literal Egypt, but a second Egypt-like bondage that is threatened.

And they shall eat unclean things in Assyria - reduced by necessity to eat meats pronounced unclean by the Mosaic law (Ezekiel 4:13). See 2 Kings 17:6, "In the ninth year of Hoshea, the King of Assyria took Samaria."


Verse 4

They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.

They shall not offer wine offerings - literally, pour as a libation (Exodus 30:9, "Neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon;" Leviticus 23:13).

Neither shall they be pleasing unto him - as being offered on a profane soil. Pusey, however, is probably right in thinking that it is the persons, not the wine (offering, singular in the Hebrew) of whom it is said, "Neither shall they be pleasing unto Him;" for they should no longer have the means prescribed for reconciliation with God.

Their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners - which was unclean (Deuteronomy 26:14; Jeremiah 16:7; Ezekiel 24:17, "Make no mourning for the dead ... and eat not the bread of men").

For their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord - their offering for the expiation of their soul (Calvin). (Leviticus 17:11.) Rather, 'their bread for their sustenance ('soul' being often used for the animal life, Genesis 14:21, in the persons, margin, the souls), shall not come into the Lord's house;' it shall only subserve their own animal uses, not my worship.


Verse 5

What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD?

What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord? (Hosea 2:11.)


Verse 6

For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.

For, lo, they are gone because of destruction - to escape from the devastation of their country.

Egypt shall gather them up - i:e., into its sepulchres (Jeremiah 8:2; Ezekiel 29:5). Instead of returning to Palestine, they should die in Egypt.

Memphis shall bury them - famous as a necropolis. The Egyptian mamphta, or 'dwelling of Phta,' the Greek Hephoestus. In it was the court of the idol-bull Apis, the original of Jeroboam's calf. The house of their idol, for which they forsook God, was to be their tomb. Near it is situated the modern Cairo.

The pleasant places for their silver - i:e., their desired treasuries for their money. Or, 'whatever precious thing they have of silver' (Maurer).

Nettles - the sign of desolation (Isaiah 34:13). Nettles - the sign of desolation (Isaiah 34:13).


Verse 7

The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

The days of visitation are come - "visitation," vengeance: punishment (Isaiah 10:3).

Israel shall know it - to her cost, experimentally (Isaiah 9:9).

The prophet is a fool - the false prophet who foretold prosperity to the nation shall be convicted of folly by the event.

The spiritual man is mad - the man pretending to inspiration (Lamentations 2:14; Ezekiel 13:3; Micah 3:11; Zephaniah 3:4).

Mad - literally, 'maddened' [m


Verse 8

The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.

The watchman of Ephraim was with my God. The spiritual watchman, the true prophets, formerly consulted my God (Jeremiah 31:6; Habakkuk 2:1); but their so-called prophet is a snare, entrapping Israel into idolatry. The Hebrew is more literal: 'Ephraim was a watchman with my God.' God had designed Ephraim or Israel, as a people, to be the watchman or prophet of God, witnessing for Him among the pagan nations; but instead of this, Ephraim was as "a snare of a fowler in all his ways," led by false prophets himself, and so misleading other nations.

Hatred - rather (a cause of) "apostasy" (see Hosea 9:7). (Maurer.) As the Psalmist saith, "I (am all) prayer," so these false prophets were the embodiment of hatred-hatred personified: their whole soul hating all that was good: and this "in the house of their God!" What an aggravation of their sin the scene of its perpetration was! No wonder, on the principle 'like priest, like people,' that the whole nation, too, was full of "great hatred"! (Hosea 9:7.)

In the house of his God - i:e., the state of Ephraim, as in Hosea 8:1, 'the house of the Lord' (Maurer). Or, 'the house of his (false) god,' the calves (Calvin). Yahweh, "my God," seems contrasted with "his God." Calvin's view is therefore preferable.


Verse 9

They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.

They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah - as in the days of the perpetration of the atrocity of Gibeah, narrated in Judges 19:16-22, etc.


Verse 10

I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.

I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness - as the traveler in a wilderness is delighted at finding grapes to quench his thirst, or the early fig, esteemed a great delicacy in the East (Isaiah 28:4; Jeremiah 24:2; Micah 7:1), so it was my delight to choose your fathers as my special people in Egypt (Hosea 2:15).

I saw your fathers as the first-ripe in the fig tree at her first time - when the first-fruits of the fig tree become ripe.

But they went to Baal-peor - (Numbers 25:3, "Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor") the Moabite idol, in whose worship young females prostituted themselves: the very sin Israel was latterly guilty of.

And separated themselves - consecrated, or, rather, desecrated themselves.

Unto that shame - to that shameful or foul idol (Jeremiah 11:13).

And their abominations were according as they loved - rather, as Vulgate, 'they became abominable like the object of their love' (Deuteronomy 7:26; Psalms 115:8 , "They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusteth in them"). The English version gives good sense, 'their abominable idols they followed after, according as their lusts prompted them' (margin, Amos 4:5, 'Offer a thanksgiving with leaven; for this liketh you (so ye love), O ye children of Israel').


Verse 11

As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.

As for Ephraim, thee glory shall fly away. Fit retribubution to these who "separated themselves unto that shame" (Hosea 9:10). Children were accounted the glory of parents; sterility a reproach. "Ephraim" means fruitfulness (Genesis 41:52, margin); this its name shall cease to be its characteristic.

From the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. Ephraim's children shall perish in a threefold gradation-

(1) From the birth;

(2) From the time of pregnancy;

(3) From the time of their first conception.

Compare the threefold stages of failure in their produce of the earth --

(1) "It hath no stalk;

(2) The bud shall yield no meal;

(3) If so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up" (Hosea 8:7 ).


Verse 12

Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!

Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left - even though they should rear their children, yet will I bereave them (the Ephraimites) of them (Job 27:14).

Woe also to them when I depart from them! "Also:" besides and beyond the loss of children, whom they Woe also to them when I depart from them! "Also:" besides and beyond the loss of children, whom they hoped or longed for, and their loss of national power, is that last and lowest step of woe, God's departure from them; yet the ungodly in their madness desire God to depart from them (Job 21:14; Job 22:17; Matthew 8:34, "The whole city (of the Gergesenes, after the loss of their swine in the lake) came out to meet Jesus (we might have expected, in order to ask Him to save them from the evil spirit whose awful power they had just seen; but, no!) they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts"). At last they know, to their cost, how awful it is when God has departed, (Deuteronomy 31:17; 1 Samuel 28:15-16, "Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more ... Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?") Compare Hosea 9:11, "Their glory shall fly a way:" and 1 Samuel 4:21, "She named the child (of Phinehas) I-chabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel, because the ark of God was taken."


Verse 13

Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.

Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place - i:e., in looking toward Tyrus (on whose borders Ephraim lay), I saw Ephraim beautiful in situation like her, (Ezekiel 26:1-21; Ezekiel 27:1-36; Ezekiel 28:1-26.)

Is planted - as a fruitful tree; image suggested by the meaning of "Ephraim" (Hosea 9:11, 'fruitful').

But Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer - (Hosea 9:16; Hosea 13:16). With all his fruitfulness, his children shall only be brought up to be slain.


Verse 14

Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.

Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give? As if overwhelmed by feeling, he deliberates with God what is most desirable.

Give them a miscarrying womb - of two evils he chooses the least. So great will be the calamity, that barrenness will be a blessing, though usually counted a great misfortune (Job 3:3; Jeremiah 20:14; Luke 23:29).


Verse 15

All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.

All their wickedness is in Gilgal - (see note, Hosea 4:15). This was the scene of their first contumacy in "rejecting God, that He should not reign over them," and choosing a king (1 Samuel 11:14-15 : cf. 1 Samuel 8:7), and of their subsequent idolatry.

All their wickedness - i:e., their chief guilt.

For there I hated them - not with the human passion, but holy hatred of their sin, which required punishment to be inflicted on themselves (cf. Malachi 1:3).

For the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house - as in Hosea 8:1 : out of the land holy unto ME. Or, as "love" is mentioned immediately after, the reference may be to the Hebrew mode of divorce, the husband (God) putting the wife (Israel) out of the house.

All their princes are revolters - `Sareehem ... Sorerim' [Hebrew, saareeyhem corriym], a play on similar sounds.


Verse 16

Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.

Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit. The figures, "root," "fruit," are suggested by the word. "Ephraim" - i:e., fruitful (notes, Hosea 9:11-12). "Smitten" - namely, with a blight (Psalms 102:4, "My heart is smitten, and withered like grass").


Verse 17

My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.

My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him - "My God;" "my" in contrast to "them" - i:e., the people whose God Yahweh no longer is. Also, Hosea appeals to God as supporting his authority against the whole people.

And they shall be wanderers among the nations - (2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26, "The God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan." Doubtless the Israelites of the ten tribes are not to be found settled in any one locality, but, according to the prophecy, are "wanderers among" all "the nations." The Jews of China, India, and Russia are probably the descendants of the ten tribes. The Jews of the countries originally constituting the Roman empire are probably descendants of Judah and Benjamin. The Jews of the various countries who met on Pentecost at Jerusalem (Acts 2:9-11) were doubtless many of them descendants of the ten tribes. "The twelve in the dispersion," addressed by James (James 1:1), and "the dispersion among the Greeks," alluded to by the Jews, who asked mockingly, was Jesus going to teach them (John 7:35), include the ten tribes, as well as Judah and Benjamin.

Remarks:

(1) They who are in favour with God may truly "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." For "in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalms 16:11). But, for men to rejoice when they have, like Israel, "gone a whoring from their God," and have therefore God's judgments hanging over them, is most unseasonable. Israel's prosperity under Jeroboam II had made her elated: what she "loved" was temporal goods, and these she greedily and insatiably sought as her "rewards" from her idols for her apostasy toward her God (Hosea 9:1). But inasmuch as she loved the temporal rewards, and rejected the real Giver of them, the rewards themselves should be taken away. The people thought their stores, were secure when the grain was on "the floor," and the grapes "in the winepress;" but even then God would cause them to "fail," and disappoint the people's hopes. No possession is secure that belongs to the forsakers of God.

(2) God claimed the Holy Land as peculiarly His (Leviticus 25:23). It was impossible, therefore, that H e could allow those to remain as tenants of the land who disowned Him as their and its Lord (Hosea 9:3). Similarly as "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof" (Psalms 24:1), He will not allow those who avowedly, or else practically, deny Him, to continue to cumber His earth. The Lord Jesus, to whom the kingdom of the earth belongs of right, will remove "out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity" (Matthew 13:41).

(3) God had delivered the Israelites from their Egyptian house of bondage, that they might serve Him whose service is perfect freedom. But as they had voluntarily preferred the spiritual bondage of Satan to the liberty of the children of God, it was but just that they should be reduced again to a state of Egyptian-like temporal bondage. And whereas, of their own accord, in their own land, they had eaten the unclean things of idolatry, their punishment should be, that against their will they must eat unclean things in the land of their captivity. It is one of the strange perversities of man's sinful nature that they who have no scruple about neglecting the ordinances of God, when within their reach, feel acutely when they are, in righteous retribution, debarred from those outward privileges which mark a distinction between the worshippers of God and the pagan. Let us therefore prize and use aright our spiritual privileges. For "whosoever hath not (i:e., hath to no good purpose), from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have" (Luke 8:18).

(4) The present and past state of Israel for ages is graphically described in the prophecy (Hosea 9:4), that "they should offer no more wine offering to the Lord," the token of their joy in being accepted of God in times past. The peculiarity of their position is, without sacrifice they cannot be accepted of God; and sacrifices could only be offered acceptably in the promised land, and at the temple in Jerusalem, according to their own admission. But this the providence of God has rendered an impossibility for 1,800 years past. Thus, since they cannot fulfill even the outward liturgical requirements of the law-the very law which is their boast, witnesses against them that they are not living in a state "pleasing unto Him." Their sacrificing, if ever they attempt it, is a defilement, not an atonement, because not done, on their own showing, as God wills and commands it to be done. So also now that Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us, to think to please God by any will-worship or merit of our own devising, is as loathsome to God as the offerings of one polluted by a dead body would have been in Mosaic times.

(5) A day is coming when despisers of holy things shall wish to have again the opportunities which now they make so light of. Man would like to have God at His command-not to be at the command of God; to have him near as a Helper in times of adversity, and yet to put Him to a distance in times of prosperity. But this cannot be. They who forsake God in the days of His visitation of grace shall be forsaken of God "in the days of His visitation" of wrath and "recompence" to the ungodly (Hosea 9:7). "Nettles" and desolation "shall possess" (Hosea 9:6) their treasuries; whereas the treasures laid up in heaven by the godly are abiding. Then, too late, the worldly man, like Israel, "shall know" himself to be "a fool," and the godly man, whom he had charged with madness (2 Kings 9:11; Jeremiah 29:26; John 10:20; Acts 26:24), shall be known to be the truly wise man. The teachers who flattered the pleasure-seeker and the mammon worshipper, in their God-hating ways, shall be in the end unmasked; and the everlasting contrast shall be manifested between the spiritual "watchman," who walked in continual communion "with God" (Hosea 9:8), and the false teacher, who was "a snare in all his ways," being himself the embodiment of "hatred" to vital godliness-and this "in the house of his God"!

(6) The depth of Israel's corruption is compared to the corruption of Benjamin, when, in the days of the Judges, they espoused the cause of the men of Belial, w ho treated so revoltingly the Levite's concubine in Gibeah. For a time Benjamin seemed to prosper, but in the end they were exterminated, excepting 600 men. So, though Israel now prospers for a time, saith Hosea, "God will remember their iniquity, He will visit their sins" (Hosea 9:9). What aggravated their sin was God's past loving-kindness to them. He had "found" them when they were lost "in the wilderness" (Hosea 9:10). He had made them pleasant to Himself, as the grape or early fig (Isaiah 28:4) is to the taste. But these same persons went off to Baal-peor, the foul and shameful idol of lust; and the people who had been "separated" unto God as His special people, "separated themselves unto that shame," and became filthy, like the filthy god "they loved." Let us remember, what we love, that we are. If we love God we are insensibly becoming more and more like God: if we love earthly objects, we are unconsciously becoming more and more earthy ourselves. He who parts from God parts from his own true "glory" (Hosea 9:11): and the earthly riches which he has made his glory "make themselves wings," "and shall fly away" (Proverbs 23:5). Like the fruitfulness of Ephraim, for which, as his name implies, he was famed, but which was turned by God for his sin into barrenness "from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception;" so the fame of backsliding professors shall at last be turned into shame, and their cherished aims shall prove abortive in every stage, from their first conception to their attempted completion.

(7) The worldly, in their madness, say virtually to God, "Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways" (Job 21:14). But saith God, "Woe to them, when I depart from them" (Hosea 9:12). When God departs from a people or an individual, then indeed "the glory is departed" (1 Samuel 4:21). God repays in kind those who depart from Him, by departing from them; and what else is the chief horror of hell, except that God is not there? Terrible as is the withdrawal of all God's gifts, it is as nothing com pared with the withdrawal of God Himself.

(8) Ephraim, as his neighbour Tyrus, was "planted" by a special providence "in a pleasant place," like the primeval Paradise; but now, on account of "all his wickedness" (Hosea 9:15), he was as a blasted and "smitten" tree, with "dried up root," and therefore without hope of "fruit" in time to come (Hosea 9:16). The God who is love itself, because of their "great barred" (Hosea 9:7), and their provocations in the very scenes of His former loving-kindness (Hosea 9:15), now "hated them" with that holy abhorrence with which He must ever regard that which is opposed to love. He cast them, away, to become "wanderers among the nations," like Cain, with the brand of His displeasure attending them everywhere, "because they did not hearken unto Him" (Hosea 9:17). If, then, God so punished the apostasy of His own elect nation, what guarantee of impunity can any Christian nation, or any individual professors, have, that they shall escape the wrath of God, if they fail to bring forth fruits consonant to their high calling? Lot us not be high-minded but fear. For "if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee" (Romans 11:20-21).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hosea 9:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/hosea-9.html. 1871-8.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology